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staci.r.l.
staci.r.l. asks:
Q:

How can I get my child to stop being such a picky eater?

My 2 1/2 year-old boy is the pickiest eater I have ever had the displeasure to deal with.  Meal time is so stressful for me: wondering if he's going to eat, what he is going to eat.  Something he loves today-he won't eat tomorrow.  He will sit at the table with his tummy growling and refuse to eat anything on his plate.  I try not to let him know how much it's stressing me out and I try not to make a huge deal of it to keep him from stressing.  Everybody says, "He'll eat when he gets hungry." or "He'll eat what you put in front of him." But he won't! Help!!
In Topics: My picky eater
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
Jun 10, 2008
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What the Expert Says:

Your struggle to get your son to eat sounds very frustrating.  This may be a phase that your son is going through in order to test his control, or it could be a medical issue.  Have you talked to your son€™s pediatrician?  If there is nothing medically wrong, most pediatricians will assure you that he will not starve and will choose to eat when ready or when he gets hungry enough.
Is it just at meal times that he won€™t eat, or does he refuse snacks as well?  If he is eating snacks without a fuss, you may want to consider cutting back on them so he will be more likely to eat at mealtime.
If this is a control issue, you can try offering him opportunities to exercise his control by giving him choices.  You could have several foods that he has to choose from when he wants to eat.  Perhaps he can even help prepare it.  Be sure to limit the choices and make sure they are healthy.  Sit down and eat with him so he enjoys the meal time.  If you don€™t already, you may want to give him choices about other things like what to wear, or what book he would like read to him.  These opportunities might help him feel like he has some control over things in his life.
Another option you could try would to be to use some sort of reward system for eating properly at meal times.  Things like sticker charts or other small rewards can be very reinforcing to kids his age and may work to increase good eating habits.
Hopefully this helps!  If you are concerned for his physical health, please consider setting up an appointment with his pediatrician to discuss your concerns.
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Additional Answers (3)

Edu-Katherine
Edu-Katherine writes:
Hi Staci,

Here's a great article about picky eaters. You might find it helpful!

http://www.education.com/magazine/column/entry/Picky_Eater_Problem/

Edu-Katherine
> 60 days ago

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busymomof3
busymomof3 writes:
My son went through the same thing.  I found that letting him help me prepare the meals made a difference.  He was proud of what he did and wanted to share it with everybody.  I had a few egg shells here and there, but even at 2 1/2 there are things he can help with, even if it is just stirring.
> 60 days ago

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Dr. Hillary
Dr. Hillary writes:
Please read this article about picky eating in toddlers:

http://pluggedinparents.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=271&Itemid=0

This article gives pointers on how to deal with picky eating in toddlers:

http://pluggedinparents.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=262&Itemid=0

If your child refuses to eat despite your efforts, there might be something more going on that requires attention of a health care provider.  Does he complain about tummy aches, chokes on food, or throws up a lot?  Does he have an aversion to different textures?
If nothing helps, talk with your child's pediatrician.
> 60 days ago

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